India has uncountable self-styled godmen and some of them are worshipped by half of the Indians. One such ‘godman’ is Sathya Sai who was believed to be hailed as the spiritual guru. But, was he? Well, we are highly doubtful as it is highly unlikely that the men who have been accused of sexual harassment and many such activities can be a godman.
Looking beyond Sathya Sai’s saintly image
Sathya Sai, an alleged miracle worker, had many devotees spread in 178 countries of the world. The world believed him to be ‘Godman’. Even the politicians, cricketers, and actors used to bow their heads before him. Mind you, the list of VIP devotees is very never-ending.
But, people are highly doubtful if he really was a miracle worker.The magician PC Sarkar Jr. had once said about him, “He is not a Baba; He’s a magician. That’s not good either. He is so useless that he is ruining the names of magicians.”
Moreover, during an award ceremony being telecasted on Doordarshan, in 1992, a Doordarshan cameraman had filmed Sathya Sai Baba’s assistant passing on objects to the godman that were later ‘conjured’ by him.
A 16-page report, titled Cultural Trends Study: India’s Sai Baba Movement, was released by the CIA.
Sathya Sai and the controversies around him
Notably, on 6 June 1993, six people died—two knifings and four shot by police guards—in the Godman’s living quarters. In 2001, he was accused of paedophilia and then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee issued a public letter hailing ‘Bhagwan’ Sri Sathya Sai Baba as a globally revered embodiment of love, selfless service to humanity, and much else.
Sai Baba, who died in 2011, was also accused of resorting to conjuring tricks and sleight of hand. He had triggered a fresh controversy in Britain after his association with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity involving young people.
The Guardian reported that the award scheme had chosen as its accredited partner a spiritual group “whose ‘living god’ founder has been accused of sexually abusing young boys”.
The Guardian quoted Tom Sackville, a former Home Office minister and chairman of Fair, a cult-watching and victim support group, as saying: “It is appallingly naive for the award scheme to involve young people and the royal family with an organisation whose leader is accused of paedophilia. Parents who plan to send their children on this pilgrimage… should be aware of the danger their children are being exposed to.”
Several devotees – both foreign and Indian have alleged that “their divine avatar is nothing more than a sexual abuser of boys and young men.”
One of them is Jeff Young, an American who was President of the Sai Baba Organisation in the south-central region of the US. He alleged that “his son Sam was sexually molested by the Godman from 1977 (when Sam was 16) to the summer of 1999 an allegation that was first carried in The Daily Telegraph of London.”
In 1976 a former American follower, Tal Brooke, wrote a book called Avatar of the Night: The Hidden Side of Sai Baba. He revealed the guru’s sexual exploits.
Former devotees such as Alaya Rahm and Mark Roche, featured in the BBC film Secret Swami, also told the graphic stories of the guru’s serious sexual exploitation.
Both had been subjected to Sai Baba rubbing oil on their genitals.
“He took me aside”, said Alaya Rahm, “put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with the oil. I was really taken aback.”
While the allegations have been made by foreigners, Mr Premanand says that “there are many Indians who also claim to have been abused but are too afraid to speak out.”
He said, “The central government stopped the investigation, because if the investigation takes place, a lot of things will come out like economic offences and sex offences.”
You see, Sathya Sai was no Godman and if one sees beyond his saintly image, the dark side of exploitation and tricks can be easily discovered.
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